Mara Liasson

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The first 2020 primary debate is tomorrow, and Thursday night in Miami, 20 candidates will be there. And some will be trying to introduce themselves to voters. Others will try to elbow the competition. NPR's Mara Liasson has the story.

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Updated at 4:14 p.m. ET

President Trump is set to unveil an immigration plan that would vastly change who is allowed into the United States.

Trump will present the plan in a speech from the White House Rose Garden Thursday afternoon.

The new plan would focus on reducing family-based immigration to the U.S. in favor of employment-skill-based immigration.

But overall, the number of green cards issued under this plan would not change, and there would be no reduction in net immigration.

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Joining us now to talk through what the release of the report means for the president is NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Hey, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hey, Ailsa.

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We're going to continue the conversation with NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, Thanks so much for joining us.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Happy to be here.

MARTIN: What does this mean?

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OK, now let's bring in NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Hey, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi there.

CHANG: So you've also read the resignation letter Mattis released. What about it stood out to you?

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And today a pro-Trump super PAC called Great America Alliance released this ad attacking Broward County election supervisor Brenda Snipes.

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Keeping control of the House would validate President Trump's governing style and mean full speed ahead for Hill Republicans to move his agenda. But if the GOP loses its majority it will need to to go on defense to protect Trump.

When the Democrats lost the House in 2010, they rapidly saw President Barack Obama's legislative agenda die.

Veteran Democratic strategist Paul Begala doesn't think it's hyperbolic to say that "everything" is at stake for Democrats heading into Tuesday's elections.

"They always say it's the most important election of your life," he says, explaining that in the past two years, Democrats learned the consequences of being "completely shut out" as the GOP controlled both Congress and the White House.

If Democrats fail to take back the House and make significant gains at the state level, they'll be shut out again, without a say in legislation and judicial appointments.

In one respect, this is a typical midterm election — a race shaped as a referendum on the president and the party in power.

But there are so many ways in which this election is anything but typical. We've seen a surge in first-time candidates, especially women and minorities. In the past several midterms, the party in power was relatively complacent compared with the party hoping to be in power. Heading into Election Day, Democrats have an enthusiasm edge, but Republicans have been getting steadily amped up, too.

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In TV commercials and on debate stages across America, the attacks are now blistering as candidates see Election Day coming up fast.

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President Trump and his supporters have often complained about the "deep state" — a supposedly shadowy cabal of opposition bureaucrats buried deep within the government. But perhaps the biggest impediment to the president isn't the deep state at all. It's the "shallow state" — which exists right below Donald Trump at the Cabinet level.

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Ohio's special election yesterday to fill a congressional seat offers a textbook example of a razor-thin margin. Republican Troy Balderson holds a lead of less than 1 percent in a reliable GOP district. Last night, though, he claimed victory.

Democrats are playing a very weak hand in the battle over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. They're locked out of power in Washington, D.C, and can't block the nomination thanks to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision in 2017 to end the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations.

A new liberal rallying cry — "Abolish ICE!" — calls for an end to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that enforces President Trump's immigration policies.

Many protesters held signs with the slogan at marches across the country over the weekend, and several leading Democrats echoed the grass-roots catchphrase.

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President Trump has said that one week from today he'll announce his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy. Trump says he spoke to some candidates this morning.

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Donald Trump and his party are gearing up for a hard-fought midterm election. But the president loves to campaign and has already started to raise lots of money and hold lots of big rallies for Republicans.

It's part of a larger playbook that his advisers think can keep the GOP in power this fall, and they think so far it's on track despite the president's tendency to go off script on Twitter or during political speeches.

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